My sweet friend Bruna over at Bees With Honey is hosting a new meme that involves writing about celebrating women's beauty inside and out. When she first announced her idea, I thought it was a great way to think positively about ourselves and what we're doing right... but I also thought it was a fabulous way to spread the love for other women that we really care about.
The first person I thought of was my friend Lisa.
Lisa is one of the most remarkable people I've ever met. She went on a medical mission trip to Tanzania several years ago. While she was there, she helped treat all kinds of ailments and the doctor she was working with told her that the biggest issue the people had was the lack of clean water. Literally, most of the illnesses they were seeing in the clinic would be nearly eradicated if they had clean water.
Lisa's heart was moved.
As a mother of 5, she knew how often she uses clean, running water every day. These African Mamas were walking an average of 10 miles each day to get UNCLEAN water for their families because that was the only water available. The water they were using for drinking and cooking was the same water that they used for animals, bathing, and washing clothes. Can you imagine how difficult would it be to keep a toddler clean without access to clean water? She knew she had to do something.
And she did.
She started a non-profit organization from her kitchen table to raise money to build wells in Africa. Dig Deep Give Well put in their first well in Tanzania in 2010. They had to drill the length of two football fields to hit water! They installed a windmill pump and now the people of the village have clean water. They went back to Arusha this past summer and started drilling for another well. They had to find a special rig because of the kind of rock they hit when they got deep into the ground. They're currently planning FIVE more wells this next summer. This is life changing for the people of Tanzania. Dig Deep Give Well is installing wells where other organization are not going because of how difficult it is to get there.
Lisa has the most beautiful heart of any person I know. While other Moms are thinking of buying new handbags and dreaming of owning a bigger and better house... her thoughts are about the water crisis in Africa. The drought this year has killed thousands of Africans, mostly small children, because there hasn't been enough water to grow crops and feed livestock, let alone treat illnesses. A bout of diarrhea can equal death for anyone under the age of 5. While some of us gripe about having to park "too far" from the mall entrance, Lisa's thinking of how far her African counterparts are walking to find water for their families. Her body may be in Alabama... but her heart and mind are in Africa.
And it's contagious.
Her love for the continent, and especially Tanzania, is spreading like wildfire. School's in our area have joined in on the fundraising and have actually challenged each other over which school can raise the most money. Churches in Louisiana have invited her to come and speak and have joined in helping African families have clean water. In our country, where it's so common to think only of ourselves, Lisa's heart is causing people to look beyond themselves and to have great compassion for our brothers and sisters across the Atlantic Ocean. And the world, seems a little smaller because of that. The people of Tanzania don't seem to be as far away. Their faces and stories become etched on our hearts because Lisa shows her photos and stewards their stories so well.
Lisa is proof that one Mom's heart can impact the world. Because she had a dream and she didn't just wish about it... she didn't just WISH things in Africa would get better... she didn't just PRAY that it would rain... she did what it took to bring water to the people for whom she cares so deeply. She MOVED. And she calls others to action as well.
That kind of selflessness is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
I encourage you to visit digdeepgivewell.org and join in bringing clean water to 5 places in the summer of 2012. Dig Deep Give Well is completely non-profit. There is no overhead. No one is paid a salary. Every penny donated goes directly into the wells. I know that there are many organizations soliciting donations around the holidays but, this is the one most dear to my heart. Give the gift of clean water. It changes people's entire lives.